4 new Grandstands for Watkins Glen Fans will notice a wide range of changes at historic Watkins Glen International when they return in 2011 and all of them will further enhance their experience while at the legendary road course. The International Speedway Corporation Board of Directors (BOD) has approved the funding for a sweeping capital improvements project that is highlighted by four new grandstands, a new Crown Royal Club, and permanent showers in the infield. The estimated cost of the project will be approximately $3 million and will be the largest fan investment into The Soul of American Road Racing.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be able to respond to the requests of our fans and improve their experiences in so many areas with these new capital improvements,” said Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. “We receive regular feedback from our fans and their comments have helped shape our Fan Plan to ensure we address the areas most important to them. We are committed to doing everything possible to ensure WGI continues to be recognized as the premier road racing facility in North America and that starts by taking care of the best fans in motorsports.”
The most noticeable enhancement will be the addition of four new permanent grandstands in Turn 10, Turn 11, outside the track next to the pedestrian bridge, and the outside of Turn 1 next to the Ninety Grandstand. These new stands will replace the four temporary structures called the Turn 10, Turn 11, Green, and Silver Grandstands that are annually built for the NASCAR weekend; the new permanent grandstands will retain the same names. Over the last several years, fans have identified these four grandstands as needing the most significant and immediate upgrades due to tight conditions and less than desirable comfort. The wooden bleachers will be replaced by ones made of plastic and metal, much like the current FrontStretch Grandstand, and provide more space and comfort. The addition of the permanent grandstands also increases the grandstand capacity at the historic road course by approximately 1,400 seats.
The new Crown Royal Club will be placed at the top of the famed Esses, the same location as the original Glen Club before it burned down in 2007 and the temporary club that replaced it for the last three years. The new permanent structure will be climate controlled, have a full roof, and feature three glass walls which will provide an extensive view around the club and allowing for plenty of natural light to enhance the VIP experience. Guests will still be treated to a full deck on the outside of the club allowing them to watch all of the on-track action as their favorite cars and drivers roar up the hill.
Permanent showers will be added to two existing bathrooms in the infield providing close and convenient locations for campers to freshen up during event weekends. The first set of showers will be added to the bathroom located at the corner of Wedgewood and Richardson roads and the second set to the bathroom located on the Gate 6 road outside the West Tunnel. Each addition will feature a total of 12 showerheads (six for men and six for women) and this marks the first time that permanent showers are being built on the infield of The Glen. Campers have used either temporary shower trailers that were brought in during major event weekends or had to travel to the showers located in the Gate 1 camping area.
The campers on the infield are not the only ones that will enjoy enhancement around the campgrounds. Gate 1 camping will receive numerous new shared water spigots and 60 additional light posts will be placed throughout the grounds. The campers staying in VIP Pit Road Camping can look forward to a fully paved area which will eliminate the gravel that can cause dust during dry event weekends. This will also provide a flat and smooth surface on which to place their motor homes.
The Glen has been undergoing a series of major capital improvements over the past nine years including the addition of SAFER barriers and extended run-off areas in several turns in 2010, the new media center in 2008, track repaving in 2006, a new grandstand along the front stretch in 2005, and an upgrade to the garage and an improved water and sewer system that included the additions of showers in the Gate 1 campground from 2001 thru 2004 (All projects are listed according to year they were completed). This latest round of capital improvements brings the total amount of money invested in WGI to almost $30 million since 2001.
Tickets for the 2011 race season at Watkins Glen International are on sale NOW! Fans can order their tickets or get more information about the 2011 race season at Watkins Glen International by calling the ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com. Gift certificates and track merchandise can all be purchased at The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen. The Shop is open Monday-Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 9-4.